Stones and bones [cemetery song]

Once you make a major purchase (house, car, major appliances) things invariably start breaking down and costing more money. Things break in multiples, the same with bad omens (in 3’s, 5’s, 7’s, like the number of days you can expect a wind storm in France). The shower head started to leak and I put a bucket under it. The dripping hit the soap caddy and ricocheted a few degrees forward. A halo of black mold bloomed there and I sprayed it with fast-acting foam, did 30 push-ups, vacuumed: anything to work through the stress and pressure I felt at work. The problem is I gravitate toward things that cause me stress, kind of need to, to work through the energy in me I can’t reconcile. Maybe it’s why I drink, write, walk, project-manage: things that require pattern-based routine to burn an inner fuel. I don’t know how the fuel got there but if I don’t use it it tends to damage me.

Lily needed a ride to the mall with a new friend, Finn. Finn has a new wave haircut, English accent, Irish mom and German dad. They live in a big green house on the side of a cliff near Tiger Mountain. The GPS on my phone got us close to Finn but not close enough. He came walking up the hill and I watched in the rear view mirror. I liked him right away.

We picked Lily up by the Blue C sushi at the Bellevue mall around 3 and she had a stuffed animal or something, which is odd, because she now looks like a teenager. It’s a weird look, with the stuffed animal.

Lily said Finn got it for her and Charlotte chimed in BECAUSE HE LIKES YOU, and there was a pause before Lily acknowledged yes perhaps, but no—she didn’t tell Finn that, a.) she has a girlfriend, or b.) that she’s “bi.” And we discussed some ways she might do that but didn’t land on anything concrete. And so I just thought about Finn at home thinking about Lily, and about me at the same age: my first girlfriend Melinda LeCount, this same time of year in 1985, making out with her on a cold park bench near Eastertime, trying to keep our noses from running all over each other while we kissed: she with her eyes closed the whole time and me watching her for a bit, then closing mine.

Charlotte and her team placed second in an academic competition related to science and creativity and teamwork, loosely sponsored by the Project Management Institute and DaVinci center. By about a half a percentage they qualified for the next round, state-level competition, and we all went to a Red Robin-type place to celebrate: something like 20 kids and parents, all separate checks, a lot of soda refills and fries, some crying and running around, lots of shit dropped on the floor. I told Charlotte how I won a speech contest when I was about her age, won the first round, then the second, but ‘choked’ at the state-level because I didn’t think I could do it. We’d all gone out to celebrate too, to a place they call The Brass Rail.

The deer and rabbits emerge like woodland creatures now in the mornings, chewing on the edges of our yard. I wrote a bleak poem about death, as winter has its grip on me still, and it goes like this:

Stones and bones [cemetery song]

If it was the last day and you knew it was, what would you do differently?
Would you kiss your kids and hold them and play your favorite songs and drive
a long drive?
And what joy would you find there, knowing it was the last.
And how can we live that way, to enjoy it fully.
And to not know. And squander so much.
And is it that, which makes us so sad
at the end,
how much we didn’t live?

Categories: Memoir, parenting, poetry

Tags: , , , , , , ,

25 replies

  1. This post, right here, is a beautiful example of what I love most about your writing. What appears to be a random set of memories that are, in reality, connected but not in a way that I could possibly describe. And every one of those memories touch something in me.

    Don’t stop doing this.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. i love the beginning of this, it’s how things happen, one leading to another, like the mousetrap game.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Two things: 1) I think you should call Finn “Flock of Seagulls,” like Samuel L Jackson in Pulp Fiction. 2) Great poem, stops you in your tracks. The last lines especially.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Isn’t it brilliant that you can like someone by the time they walk to the car and they haven’t said a word?


  5. I like Finn just from your description. The interconnectedness of things strikes me here, how the dripping shower links to mould, to running towards issues, to work and its complications. Enjoyed Lily’s reactions to Finn too, how considered she is about who she is and how she should handle the relationship – so much to think of in those years, learning to deal with people and how difficult that can be. And that poem – horribly sad but true too, how we put so much off and always think ‘tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow’ when one day, tomorrow just won’t be there for us.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Eno got chilled ‘Taking Tiger Mountain By Strategy’.

    Finn was the narrator of the last bit of christian propaganda I read in my mid-20s, ‘Mr God, this is Anna’.

    Yalom says that death anxiety is directly related to the unlived life in us.

    What’s in a name? Ask Ozymandias.


  7. I think yes. It’s the realization of how much we squandered; however, no amount of contemplating that now does much to get me off of the couch and out into life with that joi d’vivre and carpe diem attitude.


  8. So much to like here, but I keep seeing you two kids with your runny noses on the park bench. Hello young lovers.

    The poem reminds me, you need to send something to The Housewife!


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